Several studies have shown that one of the best anti breast cancer diets is the Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean Diet is a diet that is based on the traditional diet of areas of the Mediterranean such as Crete, Greece, and parts of Southern Italy. Women in these areas have seen a lower incidence of breast cancer than women in other parts of the world. The Mediterranean Diet has also been linked to lower incidents of heart problems and other cancers.
Mediterranean foods that help prevent breast cancer:
-Whole Grains- Diets rich in whole grains have been found in many diet plans. Whole grains increase fiber in the diet and decrease the risk of breast cancer by lowering estrogen levels. Whole grain foods include brown rice and flaxseed, along with whole grain pasta, bagels and tortillas.
-Nuts- Nuts contain breast cancer prevention nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. They also contain breast cancer prevention vitamins like vitamin E and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are antioxidants, which are included in diet and nutrition guidelines.
-Fruits and Vegetables- Guidelines suggest at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. The Mediterranean Diet, when used as a base for anti breast cancer foods, suggests attempting to double this amount. Fruits and vegetables containing beta-carotene such as sweet potatoes and carrots along with dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard greens are rich in the breast cancer prevention vitamin d and are also loaded in antioxidants and fiber.
-Dairy Products- Low fat dairy products are an important part of a diet menu. Women following a breast cancer prevention diet should look for dairy products containing at least 1% dairy fat as dairy fat contains a breast cancer fighting acid called conjugated linoleic acid or CLA. Women should avoid dairy products from cows which have been treated with growth hormones. Growth hormones have been linked to higher incidents of breast cancer among women.
-Fish Rich in Omega-3 Oils- Women following a breast cancer prevention diet should eat Omega-3 rich fish at least three times per week. These include fish such as sardines, tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Breast cancer foods to avoid include red meat, which has such a high fat content without the benefit of essential oils and nutrients.
Women wishing to follow breast cancer prevention guidelines in their diet need to remember that they must eat 4-6 times a day.
Sample Daily Menu Plan:
- Breakfast: 1/2 whole grain bagel spread with olive oil, yogurt mixed with blueberries, almonds.
- Mid-Morning Snack: 1 small apple, 1 teaspoon peanut butter
- Lunch: Whole grain angel hair pasta topped with marinara sauce and grilled zucchini and squash, cantaloupe slices.
- Afternoon Snack: Whole grain crackers, with 2 tablespoons garlic hummus.
- Dinner: Grilled tuna with tomato and mozzarella salad, brown rice, sweet potato.
- Night Snack: Fruit cup of strawberries, raspberries, honeydew melon.
By following the Mediterranean Diet, women cannot only protect themselves against breast cancer, they can also stay healthy and fit.